Where goes the General Council?

By Mike Mitchell

There has been a General Council since 1858. It has evolved and developed as the University itself has changed beyond recognition. Not least, the University now has a large and growing professional group in Development & Alumni working on fund raising and alumni engagement. Where should the General Council fit in and what is its relevance today?

The General Council, to which all graduates, current academic staff and some other groups belong, has a clear role as part of the Governance of the University. It directly elects the Chancellor though this function doesn’t get much exercise, for the best of reasons. It also elects three General Council Court Assessors to the University Court which is in many ways the “board” of the University. This gives all our members the opportunity to stand for election and take on a serious and responsible role within governance. But again, elections happen every two years and only three members can be Court Assessors at any one time.

This leaves the work of the Business Committee which can look into how the University is doing in all aspects. It then “Influences & Advises”. It has open relations with EUSA and this provides links into the current students’ views and concerns. There is input into the University Strategic plan. All members can stand for the Business Committee and there are elections every year (have a look at the Elections tab).

We also have our Half Yearly meetings open to all members when there are some great presentations from the Principal or another senior academic. This provides fascinating insights into the progress within the University and the issues being addressed right now. It also gives all members the opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback directly. Every second year we take our Half Yearly meeting to another country which enables members there to engage more easily. General Council members have a unique insight into the University and have a stake in its success and prosperity.

What else should we be doing? How would you like to participate? This is your chance to comment! Just add your comment below.